19 Kids and Counting’ star resigns position at Family Research Council
By Good News Today Staff
Josh Duggar, the 27-year-old eldest son of “19 Kids and Counting” stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, has responded to reports he was once accused of molesting five underage girls while he was a teenager.
“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends,” Duggar said in an exclusive statement to People. “I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”
Duggar has resigned from his position as the director of the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council in Washington D.C., as a result of the accusations becoming public, reports People.
“Today Josh Duggar made the decision to resign his position as a result of previously unknown information becoming public concerning events that occurred during his teenage years. Josh believes that the situation will make it difficult for him to be effective in his current work. We believe this is the best decision for Josh and his family at this time. We will be praying for everyone involved,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement.
“I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions,” said Duggar. “I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.”
Duggar’s parents issued a statement of support:
“Back 12 years ago our family went through one of the most difficult times of our lives,” Jim Bob, 49, and Michelle, 48, said in a joint statement. “When Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong. That dark and difficult time caused us to seek God like never before.”
Their statement continues, “Even though we would never choose to go through something so terrible, each one of our family members drew closer to God. We pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family. We have challenges and struggles every day. It is one of the reasons we treasure our faith so much because God’s kindness and goodness and forgiveness are extended to us – even though we are so undeserving. We hope somehow the story of our journey – the good times and the difficult times – cause you to see the kindness of God and learn that He can bring you through anything.”
Jim Bob Duggar informed the elders of his church about Josh’s actions and they waited a year before contacting authorities.
The information is contained in a Springdale, Ark., police report obtained by In Touch magazine through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The report stated the elder Duggar told police he was alerted in March 2002 by a female minor that Josh — who turned 14-years-old that month — had been touching her breasts and genitals while she slept. This allegedly happened on multiple occasions. In 2006, Jim Bob told police that in July 2002, Josh admitted to fondling a minor’s breasts while she slept. Duggar was investigated for multiple sex offenses — including forcible fondling — against five minors. The police report alleged Duggar had assaulted four of his sisters and a fifth underage female three to four years earlier. Some of the alleged offenses investigated were felonies, according to In Touch.
According to the 2006 police report, the investigation began when the Duggars traveled to Chicago’s Harpo Studios to appear on “Oprah.”
An email from a 61-year-old in Rogers, Arkansas, to the studio on Dec. 7, 2006, alleged that a member of the family had molested his sisters while they were sleeping.
“I think that you should know the truth before they make a complete fool of you and your show,” the person wrote.
Duggar, his parents and the victims were interviewed by police five days later in Arkansas.
Duggar’s wife Anna said he confessed his “teenage mistakes” two years before proposing marriage and that counseling her husband received “changed his life.”
“I was surprised at his openness and humility and at the same time didn’t know why he was sharing it. For Josh, he wanted not just me but my parents to know who he really was – even very difficult past mistakes.”